Insurance Fraud NEWS
Attorney pays kickbacks in $23M no-fault scam in Florida
April 16, 2018, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Family and friends of Jason Dalley say they know him as a concerned attorney who went the extra mile for his clients, a dedicated Little League coach and a devoted dad and husband.
But Dalley wept in court Monday as he told a judge about another aspect of his life — how he allowed his “passion for helping people to give way to greed.”
Dalley was taken into custody in court in Fort Lauderdale after he was sentenced to one year and nine months in federal prison for his role in a massive $23 million auto insurance fraud case involving South Florida chiropractors’ clinics. He also owes more than $1.8 million in restitution.
Dalley, 55, of Boca Raton, ran a personal injury and criminal defense law firm in Delray Beach until he pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiring to commit health care, mail and wire fraud. He gave up his license to practice law last month.
“It started slowly and quickly spun out of control,” Dalley said of his involvement in the fraud.
He admitted he was part of a group of corrupt clinic owners, chiropractors and attorneys who operated mostly in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. The fraud raked in at least $23 million from 10 auto insurance companies between 2010 and 2017, according to court records.
Dalley admitted he illegally paid kickbacks of $2,000 to $2,500 to a clinic operator, tow-truck drivers and other so-called “runners” who broke the law by referring clients to him. Dalley filed auto insurance claims on behalf of those clients and received payments.
He paid about $790,000 to “purchase those patients” while he was involved in the fraud between 2012 and 2015, prosecutors Jeffrey Kaplan and Paul Schwartz told the judge.
Dalley’s defense team, Marc Nurik and Guy Fronstin, emphasized his many years of community service and his strong reputation as a generous and caring family man. Dalley’s wife said she and their three teenage sons are devastated by his imprisonment.
His 15 years of coaching young baseball players in the Boca Raton Little League stood out because he worked so hard to encourage players to be good people, as well as to play the game well, the defense said.
Dalley had been facing about four years in federal prison, but prosecutors recommended a lighter punishment because Dalley cooperated extensively with federal and state investigations of the fraud. He agreed early on to cooperate and secretly record some conversations with other criminals. His undercover help convinced other defendants to plead guilty before trial, they said.
U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas agreed the crime was serious and said Dalley violated his oath as an attorney. But he said it was important to recognize Dalley’s cooperation with investigators. The judge said a federal prison term of one year and nine months was sufficient punishment to deter other attorneys from going “for the quick, easy, greedy buck.”
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The ringleaders of the fraud, Felix Filenger, 41, of Sunny Isles, and Andrew Rubinstein, 48, of Miami, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges in December. They admitted the fraud involved ripping off auto insurance providers by illegally billing for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance funds under Florida’s no-fault law.
The fraud involved making kickback payments to get people who could legally access supposedly confidential traffic accident reports to illegally steer drivers and passengers to the corrupt chiropractic clinics, investigators said. Once there, the “patients” were signed up for unnecessary and excessive treatment and referred to attorneys who tried to force auto insurance companies to pay settlements, records show.
Dalley was previously disciplined twice by the Florida Bar, receiving an admonishment and a public reprimand, in 2009 and 2012.